It may be a coincidence, but it feels like lockdown has yielded a steady stream of practical-minded trends. I'm thinking basic tank tops, insulating puffer coats, park-ready combat boots and throw-on-and-go dresses. The gilet is one such piece that has ticked both the form and function boxes with its layerable appeal, and I've seen the trend develop over the last 12 months, appearing in all manner of guises, from shearling and quilted puffers to artisanal quilting and heritage tweed.
It was & Other Stories' beige quilted vest that got me particularly excited about the trend for spring 2021, and I love how the brand has styled it with a tonal knit and white wide-leg jeans—a perfect textural contrast to fuzzy knitwear. Plus, it's exactly what you want to wear in the midst of spring's changeable temperatures. I also have a soft spot for the shearling iterations that have serious hiking undertones but will look oh so chic when worn oversize and layered over a white shirt and slouchy denim.
The best high-street styles come courtesy of Arket (check in the men's section), & Other Stories, Zara and Mango. Those with a more generous budget might want to check out the smart offerings from Brunello Cucinelli and Norma Kamali—both designers somehow manage to fuse the cosiness of a padded puffer with the tailored quality of a waistcoat. Genius. Whatever your preference or budget, scroll down to see and shop my edit of the best gilets to love this spring.